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RFA CEO: Take General Motors’ gasoline vehicle phase-out plan “with a grain of lithium salt”

General Motors, the largest US auto maker, has set a target to become carbon neutral by 2040, including the phase-out of gas and diesel-powered vehicles by 2035.

On Thursday, the company announced a science-based approach toward carbon neutrality that focuses on the transition to battery electric or other zero emission vehicle technology.  GM will invest $27 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles in the next five years with a goal to make 40% of their US models battery electric by the end of 2025. GM will also source 100% renewable energy to power its US sites by 2035.  

Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, tells Brownfield GM has set lofty goals before and not achieved them – like pledging to make half of their auto output flex-fuel vehicles.  

“I would encourage people to take these announcements with a grain of salt, maybe a grain of lithium salt. There is a lot of posturing going on right now with the new administration and these aspirational announcements are getting blown a little bit out of proportion.”

He says renewable fuels will continue to play a big role in carbon reduction. 

“There was a study out of Harvard University just this week that says today’s average corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about 50% compared to gasoline. So why in the world wouldn’t we be using more ethanol and renewable fuels in our gasoline rather than making statements that are frankly probably not achievable?”

He says RFA’s top priority is educating  the new administration that renewable fuels are available today to reduce greenhouse gas emission in the transportation sector and the role they can play in the solution to reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change. 

Interview with Geoff Cooper

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